HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A petition is calling on a liquor called "Hawaiian Moonshine 100 Proof Okolehao" to remove a tag featuring the Merrie Monarch.
Hawaiian Moonshine Okolehao touts its cane spirit with Ti Root as "descendant of the famous Okolehao prized by Hawaiian Kings and Commoners since 1790."
A neck hanger states reverence for its heritage. But, an image of King Kalakaua with the phrase "I like this drink' above his picture leaves a bad taste in the mouth of some.
Kaeo Awana told us by phone, "It's bending facts and creating a false sense of endorsement from King Kalakaua."
Awana started a petition on change.org for Island Distillers to remove the neck hanger, but owner Dave Flintstone defends the tag as a 'tribute.'
"It's not a product endorsement. That's simply ridiculous" says Flintstone. "It's quite appreciative. That's the intent. King Kalakaua was well known to appreciate liquors including okolehao."
Flintstone says he's received no other complaints since the product hit Hawaii stores 2 years ago.
However, 350 petition signers object to "putting words in the mouth" of the late Merrie Monarch.
We polled people at random in downtown Honolulu about the moonshine's marketing.
"Yeah, it does look like an endorsement" said one man. "They don't know he liked it."
"No I don't think it's an endorsement. I like the drink" said a woman we asked.
Critics call the hanger "disrespectful" but some see the flip side, saying "Showing this is more of a respect thing as I see it."
Flintstone added, "This is not insulting to the King or his image. It's appreciative. I'm in good company with the many Hawaii businesses who use iconic and historical Hawaiian figures."
Flintstone says he's no different than, say Kamehameha Bakery, but Awana doesn't buy that argument.
Awana said, "That is used I believe to commemorate these people and not exploit their likeness. They're not saying Kamehameha likes this pastry."
Flintstone says he may remove "I like this drink" from future tags, but keep the King's image.